Construction of an 800-metre long jump trail is underway at Queenstown Bike Park.
The trail will be about two to three metres wide, with jumps varying in size from three to 12 metres - all forgiving table top jumps.
Queenstown Mountain Bike Club committee member Fraser Gordon says: “We’re planning to build at least one huge, sender jump that will be at least 40ft (12m) long.
“I was in Whistler last year with Kepler [Rek] and the bike park crew there had built one of these jumps into an A-line and it was awesome – a huge floaty table top jump that sends you a long way but still progressive and safe enough for intermediate riders too.”
The trail will run below but parallel to the existing Vertigo trail, above the half-way clearing.
“We’ve spent countless hours up there over the past six months scoping all over the hill to find the best area and line for the trail to take. The vitally important part of a great jump trail is the gradient; it cannot be too steep or too flat.”
Gordon says too steep and riders have to use their brakes a lot, which cuts up the surface causing disrupting flow.
There are also safety issues with less experienced riders going too fast.
But too flat and the rider won’t have enough speed to clear the jumps.
The jump trail has been fast-tracked with a $10,000 donation from Skyline Queenstown.
The bike park is in the Ben Lomond Reserve, below Skyline’s building and accessed by its gondola.
QTMBC also raised $6000 from a downhill event last year and has had the support of Wilson Contractors
for excavation and building costs.
Diggers began clearing the line on Monday, opening the terrain for volunteers who will hand-shape the jumps.
The club welcomes any volunteers to turn up and help dig the trail from 9am every Saturday.
Once complete by mid-late October, the trail will be similar to the famous A-Line trail at Whistler Bike Park, and the Rollercoaster trail at Hafjell Bike Park in Norway.
Gordon says Queenstown still has a long way to go to become a comprehensive mountain bike destination like Whistler, but the jump trail is one missing piece of the puzzle for the ‘gravity’ discipline.
The club’s main priority though is opening up more backcountry access around the area for riders to go on
“all day epics”.
Gordon says without Skyline, the project would still be fundraising and unable to open in time for summer.
Skyline Queenstown operations manager Justin Matthews says the park is a community asset and helping the club out with the jump trail was “a no-brainer”.
The gondola-accessed park is expected to re-open on September 4.